US President Joe Biden unveiled the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, a new multilateral trade deal that aims to “prepare economies for the future.” A dozen countries joined the economic plan headed by the United States.

Biden made the announcement on Monday on his first tour to Asia after taking over as President. He acknowledged the United States economy has “problems” but said they were “less consequential than the rest of the world has.”

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Which countries are joining the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework?

Nations joining the United States in the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework are Australia, Brunei, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. According to Associated Press reports, combined with the economy of the United States, the countries will represent nearly 40% of the global GDP.

What does the White House say?

Even though some details still need to be negotiated among countries, the Biden administration said that the United States and Asian economies will work closely on issues related to supply chains, digital trade, clean energy, worker protections and anti-corruption efforts.

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What is at the center of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework?

Unlike traditional economic alliances, the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework does not aim to revise international tariffs and ease market access among countries. Even though Biden stopped short of saying it, the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework has been designed to decrease the region’s trade dependency on China.

Jake Sullivan, the White House National Security Adviser, said in a statement, “The fact that the United States will grow faster than China this year, for the first time since 1976, is a quite striking example of how countries in this region should be looking at the question of trends and trajectories”, Associated Press reported.